Oceanside athlete trains for new football league
Oceanside, Calif.- Devin Taverna may not play in the NFL this year, but he isn’t ready to give up on his dreams of playing professional football.
On Sunday, July 27th, the 22-year-old former Oceanside High Pirate will try out for the Pro Football Showcase, a league of ten teams set to begin play in February of 2015.
“I think it’s going to be competitive. It’s a lot of guys just like me who want a chance to showcase their abilities for a chance to play,” said Taverna. “Even if it’s not at the highest level, it’s still an opportunity to play.”
Taverna played safety for Palomar Junior College and then for the University of South Dakota, on scholarship, where he lead the Coyotes in tackles in his senior year.
After graduating this spring, Taverna tried out for the Seattle Seahawks. He didn’t make the cut, but the desire to play only got stronger.
Volunteering to help him is Paul Pau Pau, a Pastor at Calvary Chapel who trains high school athletes during his free times. When Pau Pau received a call about the Pro Football Showcase and heard big league names like Marcus Dupree and Jim Everett would be on board, his thoughts went immediately to Taverna.
There’s just something special about him, like his perseverance. He doesn’t pass what they call the eye test; he’s not 6-4, 225 pounds, doesn’t run a 4-4, but he has the intangibles,” said the Pastor.
“He’s smart. He’s dedicated. He’s committed” added Pau Pau. “I always tell him to just go until the last person tells you your time is up, and right now, I really believe his time has just begun.”
Taverna joined Pau Pau’s Oceanside High training sessions at the patch, a conditioning complex at brought in by Pirate alum Junior Seau.
Seau also left a legacy trickles into Taverna’s work ethic. During his NFL days, the linebacker trained at the school’s facilities, with other NFL team mates, alongside high school and middle school players. Tavern was one of those kids.
“I remember, he would say to stay humble and work hard, because hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.”